Posts Tagged ‘Homeschooling’

Living in Gabian

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

We’re all back in school.

2.4GabianLife 

CakePolkaDots

Anna

Snow—in the South of France?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

2.3Snow

Harry the Builder

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Today is the birthday of Washington, DC carpenter and builder Harry Wardman (1872-1938), who is responsible for many of my neighborhood’s houses (although once he achieved success he no longer wielded the hammer personally). For a picture and bio, please see Wild About Harry.

WardmanDetail

CakePolkaDotsGreg

Spring Is Near

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Here is a sketch from recent wanderings, and below it a verse my daughter and I learned while experiencing the properties of numbers in first grade. Its delight and usefulness lie in its three-fold-ness: three verses, in anapestic (short-short-long) monometer, about a charming three-petaled flower. During the same block I taught her to waltz, and we danced around the room chanting this poem.

For another March 1st welcome, please see In Like a Lion.

SnowdropsEmilys

Snowdrops we
Petals three
You may see.

White, green, gold
We unfold
In the cold.

Words of cheer
Speak we clear:
Spring is near.

CakeYellowRoses2Polly

The Dream

Monday, January 16th, 2012

All over the United States today, citizens are taking up one-day service projects (which will sometimes result in longer-term commitment) inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to compassion and justice. What a refreshing alternative to our customary observation of a national holiday: shopping the sales.

This is a detail of an entry in my daughter’s second grade homeschooling block, Saints, Heroes, and Heroines. For the rest of the entry, please see Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLKingDetai

CakePolkaDotsDylan

Sisterhood of Squash

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

SquashCuke

It’s finally getting too cold to draw from nature outdoors, so we’re sketching from the pantry, and thus cut open a recent discovery: a Sunshine Squash. (If you like winter squash, you will love this super-sweet and tender variety.)

It was my daughter who noticed the squash’s interior division into thirds, and, more subtly, sixths, and who suggested we add our squash drawings to our cucumber drawing pages. So we did. It’s exciting to find, despite their apparent exterior differences, their interior commonalities. And together they make a lovely pair. There’s a life lesson for you.

CakeTomatoesGina


 

O Roma Nobilis

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

According to tradition and Edward Gibbon, September 4th, 476 is the date fixed for the fall of the Western Roman Empire. (The longevous Eastern Roman Empire had mostly been ruled separately since Diocletian’s reign, 284-305, and would hang on by its fingernails until the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453).

In reality the fall of the Empire was more of a gradual deterioration over time, like arthritis, or a growing tendency to misplace the car keys. It took hundreds of years of bad decisions, bad luck, and bad weather for the glories of Roman engineering and culture to crumble into temporary but lengthy obscurity. But September 4th was the day on which the Germanic chieftain Odovacar and his followers bashed their way into Rome and removed the lad Romulus Augustulus from his throne, sending him into early retirement. Officially, and poetically, Rome began and ended with a Romulus.

ORomaNobilis

On this day of remembrance, I post a verse from my daughter’s Ancient Rome main lesson book, which we included in morning exercises while covering that block. Composed in the 9th or 10th century by an unknown author, it was supposedly sung by pilgrims trudging toward Rome. Perhaps pilgrims of the 25th century will chant a verse in the dead language of English as they make their way to New York or Washington DC.

Dogwood Season

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

DogwoodTree

The cherry blossoms are succeeded now by the dogwood—not a very poetic name for so lovely and graceful a tree. Around here we see a lot of the native Cornus Florida, the state tree of Virginia. (This sketch is from our apparently never-ending homeschooling Botany block. And a marvelous excuse it is for going outside on a spring day to draw instead of practicing decimal fractions…)

For guidance in planting native trees, plus the encouraging possibility of coupons and rebates, don’t forget to check out Casey Trees and, if you are a Maryland resident, the Leaves for Neighborhoods program.

Today is also the anniversary of Maryland’s ratification of the Constitution. For a mini-history with sketches, please see Maryland, My Maryland.

CakeRedRosesEdith

This image is available as a high-resolution print on 8.5″ x 11″ archival paper.


Neighborhood in Bloom

Monday, April 11th, 2011

CherryTree

To give the dog his four daily walks is no fun for anybody, including the dog, when it’s under the blazing August sun or an icy November rain. But what a pleasure it is in spring, when each walk brings a surprise, and the buds of a morning walk have unfolded into pale pink blossom by afternoon.

This is a sketch of a neighborhood tree from our homeschooling Botany block.

If you want to plant a tree in your DC garden this spring, Casey Trees, which was founded in 2002 to protect the city’s tree canopy, is offering a rebate of up to $50 per tree (three trees maximum). Now is the time to ensure the cool, leafy green shade of summer.

Today is the birthday of Washington, DC carpenter and builder Harry Wardman (1872-1938), who is responsible for many of our neighborhood’s houses (although once he achieved success he no longer wielded the hammer personally). For a picture and bio, please see Wild About Harry.

CakeSprinklesGreg

This image is available as a high-resolution print on 8.5″ x 11″ archival paper.


American Scrapbook

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

AmerScrapbk

Unbelievably, it has been FIFTY YEARS since the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, and in honor of this anniversary the Kennedy Center here in Washington, DC has created a blockbuster lineup of events. Both President and Jacqueline Kennedy were enthusiastic supporters of the arts, so the celebration includes a bounteous variety of musical, theatrical, and dance performances, some ticketed and some free of charge. It is, after all, the Kennedys who helped bring to fruition a long-languishing plan for a National Cultural Center, which was renamed the Kennedy Center after Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

Whatever you may think of its architectual style, you must acknowledge that it’s been a fantastic addition to the Washington cultural scene all these years, providing a setting for a huge range of artistic performances (including Millennium Stage, with 365 free performances a year!) and inspiring the launch of many additional venues. And it has a lovely view from the terrace. Anyway, we’re all used to it now, as a familiar icon for which we feel affection, like some eccentric great-aunt who is known for her peculiar hats.

As part of a homeschoolers’ outing, my daughter and I attended American Scrapbook, A Celebration of Verse, a theatrical interpretation of some of the Kennedys’ favorite poetry. The family had a lovely tradition which (WARNING) will assuredly make you long to go back and raise your semi-literate, poetry-impaired children all over again: for the parents’ birthdays, the children Caroline and John Jr. each chose poems and then created drawings to accompany them, which were then pasted into a scrapbook.

This scrapbook collection inspired the play, which was essentially a seamlessly interwoven, thematically arranged series of “recitations”—although I hesitate to use that dry schoolhouse term, because the interpretations were so engaging and heartfelt. (I tried to sketch, but it was pretty dark and the actors were awfully “active,” thus the rough, scribbled result.)

The set was simple, modest, effective: tall wooden shutters that opened and closed in a variety of configurations to reveal changing images that supported, rather than distracted from, the spoken word.

Lively, imaginative, yet true to the spirit of the poems, the program transfixed the audience of elementary and middle-school children for an hour, which, when you’re talking about poetry, is truly a laudable achievement.

CakeEiffelWalter